Caring for Ageing Rural Australians

The Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) grant program has been running since 2004, targeting community based not-for-profit groups providing programs and activities that support older people in rural and remote Australia.

In 2013, the CARA program was reviewed and revamped to encourage projects that improve the wellbeing of older Australians through community based proactive and positive ageing programs, as well as practical support such as equipment for centres and community based residential facilities.

Following this change, the program received a broad range of applications with a strong focus on positive and active ageing. Applications for Men's Shed equipment was the strongest theme, and there was some innovative thinking with the construction of an outdoor kitchen beside a community garden to create a recreational hub and a creative arts music program.

In 2013/14, $213,599 was granted to 27 community groups.

Some examples of how these grants have been implemented are detailed below.

CARA3.jpgRickshaw to the rescue for elderly patients

The Denmark Hospital, in Western Australia, is in a prime location - adjacent to the Denmark Community Park, Denmark River and 400 metres from the central retail area. However, for many of the elderly residential in-patients with limited mobility, they were feeling isolated and frustrated that they were unable to get out and enjoy the local surrounds.

Tailoring the solution using community skills

In an effort to reduce isolation and improve quality of life for these patients, the hospital physiotherapist and occupational therapist teamed up with Green Skills to undertake a unique joint project – to design cycle rickshaws as transport for patients with limited mobility.

With a $10,000 grant from the McCusker Charitable Foundation, as part of the Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) program, the rickshaws were imported and modified by the local Men's Shed, with support from the Denmark Machinery Restoration Group, a local solar panel business and the Recycling Centre Tip Shop.

The three rickshaws are pedal and solar powered, and used by hospital staff, volunteers and relatives to transport elderly frail patients to nearby facilities … or to simply enjoy a spin around the park.

Everyone's onboard Denmark's rickshaws

This collaborative project had a high level of community support. It was a great opportunity for a number of community groups to come together to work on a common environmental and cross-generational project to encourage skills transfer and social interaction. 

It really has been a whole community effort to get this project up and cycling, and the wellbeing of Denmark’s elderly residents is the big winner.

CARA6.jpgAge is no barrier for new friendships in Henty

In a unique partnership, the Henty Early Childhood Association and local aged care facility, Myoora, teamed up to hold regular social activities where the preschool children and Myoora Hostel residents can interact and form friendships.

FRRR is supporting the Henty ‘Intergenerational Program’ in NSW via a three year Caring for Ageing Rural Australians (CARA) grant valued at $25,068, specifically funded by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation.

Each fortnight, preschool children visit Myoora and participate in a range of activities, such as art, gardening, music and cooking. The program generated great interest across the community, with many people asking how they could provide in-kind services. One unusual piece of equipment was provided on loan to the preschool – an egg incubator.

At the visits, pre-schoolers and Myoora residents share their personal stories, interests and progress on the chicken hatching shenanigans. 

The local area of Henty is taking ownership of the project and this support will ensure the sustainability of the program in the future. The Intergenerational Program has created a whole community sense of pride!